Anne Heche Talks Motherhood, 'Cedar Rapids' and Working Since She Was a Tween

Filed under: Celeb News & Interviews

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Anne Heche stars in the new comedy "Cedar Rapids." Credit: Danny Moloshok, AP

A lot of people still remember Anne Heche for her high-profile romance with Ellen DeGeneres in the late 1990s and her confession to Barbara Walters that she had an alter ego named "Celestia," but that was a long time ago and since then she has reinvented herself as a terrific actress and mother of two sons (Homer, 8, with ex-husband Coleman Laffoon, and Atlas, 1, with boyfriend James Tupper). She can be seen in the hilarious new movie "Cedar Rapids" with Ed Helms and, and she also appears on the HBO series, "Hung."

ParentDish: Hi, Anne. How are you?
Anne Heche:
I'm terrific. How are you?

PD: Not so good. My son just spilled a big glass of milk on our leather couch.
AH:
Do you know what I call that? Milk art. My baby boy, Addy (Atlas) is almost 2 and I find it everywhere. On the floor, on couches, on fabrics -- it makes its own pattern. Also it creates its own stench. If you don't get something on it right away it permeates the whole room. My almost 9-year-old, Homer thinks it's so funny because Addy will come down the steps and he'll drag his bottle so the milk runs down and he calls out, "Mom! Milk art on the steps!"

PD: You have a big age difference between your kids -- seven years. Did it feel like starting all over again?
AH:
It was a little bit. It is a big difference. To be honest I didn't think I was going to have any more children after Homer. After I had him I really needed to get my career back on track and I was the only one making a living so it didn't even occur to me that I would have the opportunity or the freedom or ability to be supported through having another child. It didn't even occur to me until I met James and then all of a sudden it was like, 'Oh my god, you're such a good dad to Homer. How am I ever not going to let you have your own child?'

He had such a wonderful and intense and beautiful connection with Homer. We call him dad-step because he can't stand stepdad. He's been [Homer's] stepfather since he was in preschool. They're so tight and James is so cool with children. I really did think he deserved to have one of his own and also he had a job, so all of a sudden these possibilities began opening up for me.

PD: How are the kids together?
AH: They're so cool together. Homer can be jealous sometimes, but he's a kind, loving brother. It's incredible to watch the two of them together build a relationship. The older one understands it's going to be a bond and the younger one doesn't understand anything except 'I love my older brother so much that I want to do anything he's doing.' Which drives the older one crazy. It's magical.

PD: You have had a really long career.
AH:
Sometimes I walk into a room and people say, "Oh my god you look so young!" and I'm like "Well, how old do you think I am?" But it's true -- I've been around for so long that I think people think I'm a grandma. I've been working for so long!

PD: When did you start working?
AH:
I started when I was 12. I started supporting my family when I was 12, working in dinner theater in New Jersey. I made 100 bucks a week and that was more that anyone else made as a paycheck, and then I really started working professionally when I was 17 and moved to New York the day after graduation. I starred on a soap and then I really made more money than anybody else in my family and that was still only 400 bucks a week. A lot of years of working for a living.

PD: Are you exhausted?
AH:
No, I'm invigorated by it. Sometimes I look back and go, wow, I've gone through so many phases of this career and I can't even believe how many chances and opportunities and good fortune I've had and I feel like another one is dawning. People are seeing me now as a comedienne. These doors are kind of opening for me now, and I think how I'm in another phase and I can't believe it, pinch me. It's so cool.

PD: Describe your character in "Cedar Rapids."
AH: Joan is a woman that I've really come to appreciate. She's Midwestern and Midwestern women seem to have different boundaries, different rules for themselves than women who live in the city. I really wanted to respect that. I really wanted to have a woman who made a choice to be a committed mother, wife and businesswoman and, for her own survival within that commitment, do something that's a little outside of herself. Even though she's written as a broad, crazy and wild woman, I don't think Midwestern women are, so I wanted to portray somebody who made a choice to go a little bit outside of herself in order to be able to live the life she lives.

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